“Today I was judged by fellow parents for allowing my son to be his true self. And it needs to be talked about.
But first, a little backstory on my son.
He is 8 years old. Ever since he was old enough to crawl, he has always gravitated towards his older sister’s toys and activities over anything deemed traditionally ‘masculine.’ Dolls, nail polish, purses, pink, glitter, you name it. He loves it all. He also happens to like monster trucks.
When he came of age to start dabbling in sports, we tried everything. Tee-ball, soccer, frisbee, basketball. Again, you name it. He was simply not interested.
In fact, he would scoff at the dirt on his hands before wiping it on his shirt, and constantly ask Mommy and Daddy when games would be ‘over.’ More than once we had to practically drag him into the car before practices.
After some time, it was clear: sports just aren’t his thing. And there was nothing we could do about that, believe me.
Eventually, it was decided by my husband and I to remove my son from sports after he was relentlessly teased by other boys on the team for playing like a ‘girl.’
I’d even overheard parents gossiping or poking fun at my son for often having his ‘head in the clouds.’ On one particular occasion, the masculinity of his father was even brought into question. Because how the heck else could a boy end up this way, right?
Last night, I was chatting with a couple local parents when I was suddenly stopped in my tracks. The topic of sports came up and, naturally, we progressed into discussing more about my choice to pull my son from the local tee-ball little league.
One of the dads said to me, ‘Don’t you think that’s a bit cruel? I mean…you’re basically setting your son up to be bullied.’
He proceeded to tell me I should have left my son in tee-ball (which he absolutely hates, by the way) while others sat there and nodded. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. After a couple more useless sentences, he said it. The part that really grinded gears:
‘Let your boy be a man.’
What he didn’t realize during his bout of unnecessary parenting advice was that pulling my boy from sports was not only PREVENTING the bullying my son was already enduring (not causing it) by ceasing to force him into doing things he didn’t enjoy, but it had also been one of the best decisions I’d ever made.
Now, my boy spends quality time in dance class.
Now, my boy no longer cries in car rides before practice.
Now, my boy spends a whole lot more time genuinely smiling and loving life.
Letting my son be who he truly is in heart and soul is not cruel, it is good parenting.
I will never force my son to ‘be a man,’ I will teach my son to be a kind human being who embraces his own interests and identity.
And I can only hope others will do the same.”
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